Legacy Mechanics - How they make a game epic

While the only legacy game I have played is #Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, I thought that I'd talk a little about how the 'legacy' aspect really elevated each game. I'll try not tp spoil anything as I think everyone should play this game knowing nothing about it.

However, every time we sat down to play I got a build up of excitement. Part of this was the new rules that had been added to the game (again I won't spoil anything) which often quite radically how we were going to have to play. However, the new stuff wasn't the whiole of it: we had a history with this game, there was immediate reminiscing as we got out the various pieces and characters. Seeing the board covered in stickers, each one a triumph or a failure gave it meaning and your character who had been through it with you and you inevitably grow attached to and imbue with a personality. We would constantly joke about our characters and their interactions with each other and the events in a much more developed way than we would in any single sitting game. 

As you play through the game it is impossible not to keep in mind that there will be other games after this one. Every decision is made more meaningful in the knowledge that it might have consequences (good or bad) for future games. This is especially true as sacrifices you might be willing to make in a standard game (of pandemic or others) are suddenly going to keep hurting you after the game finishes, winning comfortably and just pulling through are very different as your set up/options the following game will be proportionally easier/harder. Because of this there is a tension and excitement available in the games that I don't generally feel in most board games.

Because of this, as I said in my top 10 list, while no individual game of Pandemic legacy was in isolation the best game I ever played, when you put those games in the context of the campaign they become that much more epic and entertaining.

What have your guys experience with legacy games been? What do you like/dislike about them?



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Supporter3 months ago

#Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated is my first and only legacy experience. I love it and want more.

First, let's start off with what I didn't like about it:

  • "Fiddliness" - Lots of stickering and reading throughout the gameplay. It's an enjoyable process, but boy it takes some juggling to get the process down at first.

That's it. It's the only negative. Otherwise, there are way too many positives:

  • Progression - I've mentioned too many times that I like having a sense of progression, which is an inherent part of a legacy game. Clank! Legacy tells an excellent story through its gameplay while having you make decisions that literally shapes the world as you play. It only helps that the theme of a dungeon crawler in Clank! lends itself well to legacy aspects. And you know how there can be game nights where it leaves you so excited after a memorable ending to a game? I like that it doesn't just stop there, and that a part of that magic/momentum carries over into the next session.
  • Anticipation - Of course, great games will always have you wanting more, but I feel like great legacy games have the kind of a hook that's almost like an addicting video game or a TV series/drama. It makes you want to come back for another session as soon as possible because you're curious to see what happens next.
  • Replay value - First, the campaign is always fresh because Clank! Legacy comes with tons of unlockable content where you won't even get to see most of them. It's also a big plus that once we're done with the legacy part of the game, we'll have our very unique Clank! edition that we can play like a regular game.

3 months ago

Clank! Legacy does sound excellent. If you are looking for another legacy game, I think you might really enjoy Season 1 of pandemic. It has most of the things you like about Clank! (although maybe less unlockable content as you will open most of the content throughout the campaign) plus it has much less stickering during gameplay than it counds like clank does. There is a little stickering at the end of each game but that is always quite exciting as you don't feel any pressure to get on with the game.

3 months ago

#Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 currently sits on my shelf as I got it at a discount and look forward to playing it but have to wait for the right timing because I'd like to play it with my family or Becky at least.

I've played most of #Scythe: The Rise of Fenris and it is a great legacy experience (though somewhat short) and the best experience when you have a great grasp of all the factions and the basic gameplay (I wouldn't recommend starting out with Fenris)

#Gloomhaven was my first legacy experience and broke me through the wall of thinking I'd just prefer a one-and-done game.  I went into playing it not being 100% sure how much I'd like it.  The consequences from one game to the next are nearly as complex and weighty as in Pandemic (from what I understand) but the layered choices from which quest path to choice, to which cards to add as you level up, to the diversity of characters to choice from and the variability between characters make every session unique.  Not to mention that each scenario seems to have it's own unique twists.

#Charterstone is another legacy game sitting on my shelf waiting to be played.  I just have to wait for the right timing. #Sword & Sorcery: Immortal Souls was another legacy game I nearly forgot about.  I enjoyed it but the story and development of characters are limited compared to Gloomhaven and so it got traded some time ago.

3 months ago

Yeah, a few of my friends have gloomhaven and absolutely adore it, that said I know I would just never find the time to actually play through it.

Supporter3 months ago

I like the idea of Legacy but there are two reasons I haven't played a true Legacy game.  First, the idea of playting through a game and then having it essentially be unusable after is hard on me.  Although I do know some games have tried to address this I also don't know if everyone would consider them truly Legacy.  The other thing (even though we do play some Campaign games, and I'm hoping to start #Scythe: The Rise of Fenris soon) is that I find it harder to play a lot of Legacy or Campaign games because of the infrequency of my gaming group getting together.  A 12 - 24 play Legacy game could take us up to one calendar year to get through so I'd really really really have to like the game before commiting.  The two campaign games I play/plan on playing I know I love.

Since this particular game is coop exclusively (I believe), I can't imagine ever playing a Pandemic Legacy game.  But I'm glad they are out there for the people who love them.  They seem like a cool idea, just maybe not for me.

3 months ago

Yeah it took us just over a year to get 99% through Pandemic legacy (we have one final game to do after lockdown) but it never felt like it had been too long between games. I knew I like Pandemic as a game (not my favourite but a good game) and had been told by friends who I knew I had similar tastes to that it was amazing so I wasn't worried about not enjoying it. For me, I can't imagine wanting to play a competitive legacy game as although I am sure there are catch-up mechanics I can imagine it being rubbish to be constantly starting on the back foot if you weren't doing well.

Supporter3 months ago

I have yet to play a legacy game. I really want to sometime, but I still find the "one and done" nature to be a little hard to swallow, BUT, the more games I get, the less I find that a problem.

3 months ago

For me it's less about the one and done nature, and more that I simply am not interested in playing through a campaign of a board game. I like having each game be completely separate from all the other games. Maybe one day my opinion on this will change, but so far I've not been at all tempted by legacy games.

3 months ago

I can see that, they are very different in that aspect (as I wrote above as one of the reasons I like them) and so I think you probably have to get your head around that for it to be as good. Similar to an RPG or longer video game where things you do might have long lasting consequences. But absolutely get that that won't appeal to a lot of people and it's good you know your likes and dislikes.

Supporter3 months ago

It is just true, that no matter how good a game is at telling a story, they will probably never be as good as a book or a movie. I still want to play one(some) sometime. But, it does lessen my desire to play one.

3 months ago

I can see that, I think I had similar reservations when I first heard about it but Pandemic legacy you will play 12-24 games of it before you are done, which to my mind is more than plenty of games I own have gotten. If you share the cost between the player you are probably paying £10-15 per person at this point which is pretty reasonable. I know some legacy games have relatively cheap reset packs if you did want to play again. 

I feel like I have gotten my money's worth from it.

Supporter3 months ago

I'm not worried about getting my money out of it. But, I won't be playing any until I have my group again.... 

3 months ago

Yeah, i think it really helped have a consistent group (we played with 3 people)

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Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
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